TMCnet Feature
December 09, 2022

The Tech Behind America's Favorite Games

More Americans than ever are playing video games in their free time and it makes sense that that's the case. Video games are becoming so much more engrossing and lifelike and not only that, they're becoming more accessible too. Some readers will remember the enormous expense of the original consoles and the intense jealousy of anybody lucky enough to have one. Nowadays, even the most basic of smartphones can run a plethora of games that we could only have dreamt off back in the 90s. Technology is the driving force behind all of this change and some of it is truly amazing, as we'll find out here.

Unreal Engine

First on the list is a piece of technology that's involved in way more games than you might think, including the second most popular game in America, Fortnite. Unreal Engine is a video game engine that was developed by Epic Games and first used all the way back in 1998 in a first person shooter game. Since then, the tech has obviously advanced somewhat, but the bare bones remain the same. The idea behind Unreal Engine was to enable games designers, who didn't have the ability to code, to create three dimensional spaces that their video game characters could inhabit.

The idea works on a building blocks design, kind of like Minecraft which we'll come onto a bit later. With these blocks, areas can be stacked and the code instantaneously works. So pioneering is this tech that other sectors have started to embrace it for themselves, particularly within the world of architecture. Unreal Engine is being used to quickly turn drawings into three dimensional virtual spaces that can be adjusted in front of the client's eyes. This kind of modelling would have taken hours before, but now it's saving architects huge amounts of time and enabling people to visualize architectural concepts far more easily. The gaming industry has always been a technological pioneer, as so much of its appeal revolves around novel experiences, but it's amazing to see technology founded by the gaming industry reaching such enormous potential outside of the gaming sphere.

Random Number Generators

RNGs are even more random than this

Next we'll move onto a simpler technology, but one that's present in many games. Slots games are hugely popular within the sphere of online casino gaming and whilst they may be simple to play, there's a lot that goes into the making of them. Firstly, it's of paramount importance that the games are fair. Casinos will have their license revoked if it's found that they offer games that are rigged, so ensuring a truly random game with an honest return to player ratio is essential.

They achieve this by using a random number generator. Most of our minds run to a bingo ball machine, but we'd need one bigger than most of the United States to hold sufficient balls for the level of randomness required by these games. Instead of a giant bingo machine, a random number generator works by taking a seed number and running it through a complex mathematical equation.

In the case of a slot machine, the seed number might be generated by the number of milliseconds between the length of the last mouse move and clicking the 'go' button, a number so tiny and precise that it would be impossible to replicate. The number left at the end of the equation dictates how long the reels spin for and therefore what position they land in.

Virtual Reality

Finally, the most played game in the US is Minecraft, having been around since 2009 and having sold 176 million copies worldwide, some of us might think that it was time for Minecraft to relax and admire what it had achieved. However, despite its success in the gaming world, it's looking to take things a step further with a move into virtual reality.

Minecraft Earth is a mobile game that hopes to blend the Minecraft world with the real one, using augmented reality. You'll be able to team up with friends to build structures on your kitchen table, or living room floor. When you look through the phone they'll be there, but when you put the phone down, they're gone. Taking your creations outside gives you even more room to create towering buildings that everybody with the Minecraft app can admire.

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